Walt Disney World: Day 1 – Animal Kingdom

It has been so long since I last wrote a post! Bill and I decided to do a spontaneous trip to Disney World when he had a week off last month. In hindsight, Disney World isn’t the best choice for a spontaneous trip, just because we realized there’s so much planning involved, like meals and fast passes.

We planned our trip out in 2 days: Booked flight, hotel, called cat sitter, made meal reservations, fast passes…It was actually quite stressful and it wasn’t easy, but we managed to pull it off pretty well in the end! I’d like to take this moment to thank my coworkers and friends who answered all my last minute questions about the trip!

As usual we decided to leave from Toronto Pearsons Airport and not London. This meant we had to wake up extra early in the morning and drive to the park ‘n fly in Toronto. The flight to Orlando wasn’t bad at all, there was a bit of confusion when we were looking for the shuttles to Disney World when we arrived (we went to the shuttle arrival stop and not the departure area).

Our flight was delayed a bit, so we arrived at hotel at around 3pm. This was a 4 day trip, so we decided to visit one park a day. We had heard there wasn’t much to do at Animal Kingdom, so we decided to go there for Day 1.

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We stayed at one of the Disney Resorts, All Star Movies. It was one of the budget hotels, so it wasn’t that nice, but we figured since it was a short trip, we would be spending most of our time at the parks anyways, plus it was a lot cheaper than the other nicer resorts. There are shuttle services at each Disney Resort, we hopped on the shuttle and headed to Animal Kingdom!

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Here’s the entrance to Animal Kingdom. When we checked into the hotel, they gave us a “Just Engaged” pin because I had mentioned we just got engaged when I called Disney earlier. They have a pin for almost every special occasion you can think of, I’ve seen pins for “First Visit”, “And they lived happily ever after…(married)”, “Birthday”, “Anniversary” and the list goes on. Cast Members (that is how they refer to Disney Staff) would congratulate us if they saw us wearing the pin. It felt awkward at first, but we got used to it 🙂

Due to the delay, we couldn’t make it to the Animal Safari Ride. We saw a short lineup and without knowing what we lined up for, we followed the group:

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Although it seemed like there was only a few people lining up outside, when we walked through the door, there was actually a fairly long line up. Bill was thinking we would be meeting Mickey and Minnie, but I thought that was too good to be true! The lineup would have been a lot longer I thought!

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But when I saw these pictures on the wall, I knew Bill was right 🙂

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… and there they were! What a great way to start our trip with a photo with Mickey and Minnie Mouse! We had heard there were long lineups to get photos taken with Mickey, at least in Magic Kingdom, so before the trip I pretty much wrote off our chances of meeting them.

After the photos, we headed to our first ride, the “Expedition Everest”. I got really nervous and actually wanted to back out, but Bill convinced me to try it.

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The ride was not as scary as I thought. I was mostly concerned with big drops, but the scariest part of the ride was actually dropping backwards and I was comfortable with that.

I had read that we should bring our rainjackets to the park because Orlando is prone to intermittent showers. We were so glad we brought our rainjackets. On top of the weather, they have a lot of mist machines that creates a damp swampy feeling, so it wasn’t all that bad that we went to Animal Kingdom on a wet day.

This is another ride we went on. Depending on where you sit, you either get wet or completely drenched. They also do not provide you with disposable rain coats. We were lucky enough to not have gotten drenched. But the water dries out very quickly and you’ll see a lot of people drenched, so you won’t feel alone or awkward if you get your pants wet 😉

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And then we met Russell and Alpha.

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We headed towards the Dino Rama, the area with the Dinosaur rides.

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That concluded our short visit to the Animal Kingdom. We made reservations at one of the seafood restaurants in Downtown Disney.

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After dinner, we took a stroll around the area. They had a Lego store there and I really wanted to buy something, but couldn’t really find a set that I loved and at a reasonable price range.

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And then this happened:

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Honestly I was never a huge Disney fan myself, but funny thing is, when you’re in Disney World, all of a sudden you just fall in love with the characters you see. I couldn’t stop myself from buying a couple of stuffed animals.

More to come!